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Bring Back Bison

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Former Zoo Director, Ted Reed, passes away at 90

Theodore H. Reed
1922—2013

NZP Director Theodore Reed with Gorilla Tomoka,  Name: National Zoological Park (U.S.), Reed, Theodore H,  Date: 1960s

Dr. Theodore “Ted” H. Reed, DVM, former Director of the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, passed away on July 2, 2013 in Milford, DE at the age of 90.

Born in Washington, D.C., Ted graduated from the School of Veterinary Medicine, Kansas State College in 1945. He then served as Assistant State Veterinarian in Salem, Oregon during 1946-1948. In 1949, he went into private practice working in Caldwell, Idaho; Ashland, Oregon; and Portland, Oregon.

While in Portland, Ted served as veterinarian to the Portland Zoo and on the Mayor's Zoo Commission during 1951-1955. He was appointed Veterinarian at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park in 1955, becoming our Zoo's Acting Director in 1956 and its Director in 1958. He retired from that position in 1984 to serve as a Senior Scientist and Veterinarian Emeritus of the National Zoological Park.

Theodore Reed with Camel at National Zoo,  Name: National Zoological Park (U.S.), Reed, Theodore H, Ackerman, Ilene,  Date: 1970s

During his time at the Zoo, Dr. Reed had been searching for a captive breeding facility for over a decade when he heard of the possibility of obtaining the old Remount property. Other locations had been examined, but none could compare with the potential and existing on-site facilities offered by the old Remount Depot. The property was occupied by the Smithsonian in 1974, and title to the land was received in 1975.

The facility was named the Conservation and Research Center, and was staffed with a dozen employees from various zoo departments as well as a handful of former Remount and Cattle station employees. The Center's mission has evolved over the years, but its focus remains true to the original concept—a center for conservation-related activities across the Smithsonian. Because of Dr. Reed’s vision, we were able to establish what is today known as SCBI.

A member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, Ted served in many roles for the organization and was awarded their highest honor the R. Marlin Perkins Award in 1984.